Alien Murmuration - Chapter 1 (1986)
I see that sign again; it seems like every time I get on this bus I see it. Is it on every bus or do we use this bus most days? I am not sure why I am noticing this sign all the time. If I face facts I don’t have much else to do. Watching the world because I can’t find any part in it. The bus journey is long and boring, my fellow travellers spend their time chattering, screaming and hooting. All this combines to a smooth combination of white noise. I can’t put my finger on it or connect to it and I can’t take it in or separate its parts. When I get off the bus, I always feel like I do when I get out of the swimming pool.
I have been at this school for nearly a year now and I honestly don’t think anyone has noticed. Anonymity is an interesting thing, painful when you are trapped inside looking out but worse when you are dragged out of it. Mum and dad chose this school because apparently it is the best one around. Add to this the fact that some lads at my old school were making my life miserable. So here I am outside of the school stream that was hell on earth and into another camouflaged by my own anonymity. I suppose this is better? At least I am not constantly looking for places to hide or losing my shit at the front gate and setting up another day of mocking mimicry and hooting laughter. Not just from the kids but some parents as well.
No more bruises and scratches to explain away as self-inflicted when only a few of them really are. Being mostly invisible is mostly better that being a target.
I stare at the sign again.
“Make Love Not War,
Ask the Driver For Details”
Maybe the driver is part of some kind of group? Or distributes leaflets for them. He must share my deep-founded thoughts about the ugly futility of war. I can’t see any other reason for having that sign on the bus. Most days I chicken out of asking the driver but today is the day I am going to be brave. Maybe today is the day that things change for me. Today is the day I am going to be brave, I am going to be someone else. I am going to reach out to a kindred spirit. Find some people that think the same as me. I feel confident that this will be okay. The driver is an adult, I like adults. I know where I am with adults. They don’t do stuff just to be mean.
My stop is coming up and I am going to do it!
“I would like the details of the futility of war” I say as bravely as I can while pointed at the sign.
“Do what kid?” He replies gruffly. It becomes incredibly apparent that I am standing in front of the whole bus. The silence engulfs me like I am standing in a bubble.
I find my voice again, shaking but louder and clearer so he can understand me “I would like the details on your ideas about the futility of war”. As I repeat my line, I can feel the blood rushing to the skin all over my body. I feel like I am being sucked into an invisible vortex. I half turn slowly and see so many mocking eyes on me.
“Yeah, very funny kid” the diver looks at me strangely “now piss off my bus.”
I am not invisible anymore. Everyone knows who I am.